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Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Frederick O. Waage

Committee Members

Kevin E. O'Donnell, Theresa A. Lloyd


Disagreement over the label "feminist" continues to elicit debate within the feminist movement and in society. Some contemporary feminists see protofeminism in Jacqueline Susann's novels.

This work investigates the support Susann's novels offered to the second wave of the feminist movement of the 1960s and the 1970s. A close reading of Susann's best-selling novels, Valley of the Dolls (1966), The Love Machine (1969), and Once is Not Enough (1973) was combined with a study of the author's biography, works by second-wave feminists, and reviews and criticism of the novels. Further evidence was gathered through research of the socioeconomic status of women during relevant periods and viewing the novels from the perspective of the feminist movement's second wave.

Placing the novels in their historical and socio-economic context proved that these works did not offer support to the movement. Instead, they advocated women's continued status as oppressed citizens.

Document Type

Thesis - restricted


Copyright by the authors.